A first, virtual 3D reconstruction of the temple of Zeus at Olympia forms the basis for further investigations in this article. The 3D model now allows the exploration of several hypotheses concerning the lighting of the colossal golden ivory statue of Pheidias in the temple interior by experiments with virtual lighting. Moreover, the various arrangements of the sculptures in the east pediment of the temple that have been suggested by previous researchers, can be tested and thus determined whether they are plausible or not. The different variations proposed in the past were often based on plaster copies. This study compares these historic reconstructions and their interpretations which are not always identical with the 3D model. Therefore, the historic plastic models were scanned so that they could be compared precisely.